02 April 2010

Thirteen Sights in Two Days

Remember when we went to Boston last summer, and played intense tourist for two days? We did it again, this time closer to home. My sister-in-law had given us a gift certificate for two nights at the Algonquin, and it was about to expire and the girl had spring break, and so we sprung.

We took the train to the city on Sunday, and walked the two blocks over to the hotel. Along the way, we learned that “there are three pigeons in New York and their names are Susie, John and Marissa”, in case you were wondering. The Algonquin is fabulous and antique and totally my idea of a hotel – it has character coming out of its ears. There are Dorothy Parker quotes on the doors to all the rooms, there’s a cat in the lobby, and the gloriously deep bathtub looks like it’s the 1902 original. The wallpaper in the halls is a pastiche of New Yorker cartoons, so you can say "No, Thursday's out. How about never - is never good for you?" while you wait for the elevator. I even liked the airshaft view out our back window, and the front window was good for peeping into some random offices across the way.

After a pause, we scarpered over to 42nd Street, which doesn’t look like 42nd Street anymore, it looks like a mall, but whatever. We had tickets to a fine little show – four Australians doing "46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes" which was as madcap and charming as you can imagine; the girl was rapt throughout. Incidentally, if you’re in NY with children, you should take them to almost anything at the New Victory – it’s a little jewelbox of a theater "for kids and families", and you don’t even have ask for a booster seat – the ushers just know that six year olds need them. We had dinner at Bond 45 – a completely serviceable Italian restaurant between the theater and the hotel, where they treated the girl right: six cherries in her Shirley Temple, and a package of freshly baked chocolate cookies to go.

Monday, we got up and wore ourselves out:

  • Ate breakfast in the fabulously Victorian round table room
  • Rode the ferris wheel at the Times Square Toys R Us (because we’d accidently walked by it the night before and there was no way out)
  • Successfully bought nothing at the afore-mentioned Toys R Us
  • Took the subway up to the Museum of Natural History, where we saw live butterflies, dead rodents, American Indians, and the big whale
  • Successfully avoided every last gift shop at the afore-mentioned museum
  • Took the subway back down to Chinatown for a dumpling lunch
  • Agreed to purchase pink! silk! pajamas! at Pearl River Trading (though they’re really rayon)
  • Took the subway further downtown, and rode the Staten Island Ferry back and forth. Free! It’s free! We’d thought about going to the Statue of Liberty but rode the ferry instead. Did I mention that it’s free?
  • Headed uptown to Macy*s to see the flower show
  • Gave into demand that we buy something at Macy*s for the child, and got her a shirt and a denim dress, a/k/a useful souvenirs
  • Walked back to the hotel and crashed for a moment
  • Went out to dinner at a most excellent pizza place called Co, by the "no-knead bread" guy
  • Came back to the hotel, where I took a bath in peace and quiet

Tuesday, I went to work and the girl and her father traipsed around some more in the POURING rain. I think I might have gotten the better end of that stick, though she came home with bathroom fixtures for her dollhouse and a chocolate bunny.

And that, friends, is how to see New York. Bang zoom. Theater, museum, ferry, subway, restaurants, shops, hotel. Two days. Though you might need a vacation from your vacation. Luckily, it's still spring break.


Harriet said...

We do this in Chicago every now and then. I love to play tourist in my own city. this sounds like a fabulous holiday.

Janet said...

I've always wanted to visit the Algonquin!

Rima said...

Sounds like you did it right! I feel as though I need to put my feet up now, after reading about your whirlwind tour.

Life in Eden said...

sigh. that sound divine.

flutter said...

you must need a nap!

The Library Lady said...

I'd love to stay at the Algonquin. But the accommodations at Chez Parents are comfy and the price is right. Cooking is good too, if relentlessly healthy :D

We did a tourist trip a few summers back--got the girls to some of our favorite places like the Central Park Zoo. Did Chinatown, with lunch at a Chinese cafeteria buffet--tasty cheap food but really basic--not even AC on a hot day. Did the Circle Line--we hadn't done that in years, and won't again soon--it's pricey.

Hate Times Square. Preferred it back in the days of my youth with the sleaze and dirt. That at least was REAL! Now it's Disney World North w/nothing there that you can't get elsewhere.

Love the ferry--the Man and I have both ridden it since childhood. My brother the hedge fund robber baron thinks otherwise of Rudy 911, but IMHO the only good thing he did for the city was make the ferry free!


the mama bird diaries said...

Wow. That sounds fantastic. What fun.

heidi said...

So what did you think of the cat? She seemed extremely depressed to me.

FreshHell said...

Sounds like a perfect vacation! How in world did you manage to avoid gift shops? Mine live and die by them.

Heide Estes said...

The parts of Times Square without traffic are pretty cool, though. You packed in an impressive amount!

mayberry said...

that sounds wonderful. And about what we're planning to do in Chicago this week. I only hope we can avoid gift shops as successfully as you did.

ozma said...

My child would not ride the ferris wheel at the Toys R Us. What the hell?

Sounds like a faaaaabulous weekend.

nonlineargirl said...

Lovely - a day with dumplings and pearl river sounds great to me. Actually, even just the dumplings would be good. Speaking of which, are you up for a dumpling lunch in August?

Kirsten Alana said...

I just did NYC in 4 days and I am quite certain I didn't squeeze this much in to my 4 days. Impressive! Very! Definitely enjoyed this peek into NYC life as a tourist!

painted maypole said...

Sounds fantastic. i really want to get out there again soon, as a dear friend of mine has given birth to my godson. and he's nerly 5 months old already and I haven't met him yet. unfortunately, we're broke.

loved the postcard. thanks.